Zibaldones and the Dayton Art Institute

Dr. Laura Hume’s Renaissance & Reformation Europe integrated an experiential learning activity at the Dayton Art Institute. There, Dr. Roger Crum gave a talk about the Renaissance artwork, which related it to the course themes of the Renaissance focus on self-awareness, self-consciousness, of discerning purpose and calling. This activity tied to subsequent reflection assignments in students' zibaldones. For this particular activity, reflection on vocation was the central outcome -- also known as the identification of one's gifts, talents, or skills, engaging in the act of becoming self-conscious, exploring how to connect what one feels inside with the practicalities of the outside world.  

By reflecting on the artwork at the Dayton Art Institute from the era when  Europeans looked both within and beyond themselves in a process of conscious self-transformation, students engaged both within and beyond themselves. Through the entire course students kept zibaldones. Zibaldones date back to fourteenth-century Italy and are part journals, doodle books, scrapbooks, and diaries. Today in our digital world, they would likely be called them blogs. Students were asked to keep these books and write and draw in them frequently, if not every day, and were reminded with reflection prompts and reflections that connect to specific ideas and themes. Targeted prompts connected the artwork seen, the historical context, and the students' undergraduate careers and vocational development. The Zibaldones will document and assess students’ progress on the proposed learning outcomes.

The ELIFF mini-grant was used to hire First Student Charter Bus Service to transport 35 students and two faculty to the Dayton Art Institute and to give Dr. Crum an honorarium for his talk. Students explored the question of what it means to be human through both the surface realism and psychological exploration of the Renaissance artists as they learn from Dr. Crum about the rise of artistic individuality, virtuosity, and even celebrity. Students reflected on vocation in the context of the artists of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance who struggled against tradition and convention to express themselves with their unique talents, skills, and gifts.

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Laura Hunt Hume

Associate Professor; Director of Prelaw Program

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Email: Laura Hunt Hume

Phone: 937-229-4229

Full-Time Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: History

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